Just outside West Side Chicago, Maywood brings up a talented singer, writer and producer. Justin Famous, may sound like a hopeful name but his talent on the mic will prove he has more skill if anything. Just about 4 years into releasing music, his skillful lyricism was evident from the start! Performing and releasing EP projects and singles now, he comes with messages to deliver!
Recently releasing GRACE, a 4 track EP that rocks some funk & soul vibes to start, cannot help but to catch a similarity to Anderson Paak. The EP’s title GRACE sounds pure and the meaning behind it is refreshing. Many artists like to be their best critics, stressing themselves over deadlines and creativity and the uncertainty of making a name and a profit for doing what you love. This EP reminds you to allow yourself a GRACE period for growth and learning, so then you can emerge gracefully, prepared and ready.
“A wise man said, turn all your L’s into lessons, and use that to build don’t, dont give up just to ease your stress, it is best for you to let it go.” Famous realizes in his chorus to GRACE, and his mind battles “But it’s hard when I’m so invested, every loss hurts but I guess that’s how you let it grow.” Then his next track GOOD NEWS is that itch for influence and inspiration after that realization to GRACE. He would switch it up with his final two tracks in energy and demeanor too.
Justin Famous must have gotten the GOOD NEWS he was looking for because his next tune he is ready with some big GOALS, spittin’ game over a hip hop beat this time. “Might just end homelessness and hunger in my city, might just give these youngins hope enough to stop the killings” he notes, if that is the PLOT he is discussing in his next tune, continuing with the hip hop energy, then he got my vote. Justin Famous is taking over the world and with Yana Renea and Dro $tylez on his side, this piece of work should go far!
Safi G popping out with the new beat and music video to FLEX on ’em in every single way. In the intro draped in chains and red fitted suit, with an attitude like he knows he is made. “What It Do!” Safi gets right in your face off the bat and he tells you off, “I’m the streets doing dirt, with my wolves puttin work.” Not only flexing in chains in a nice crib, with his wolf pack behind him and fellow Goodfellaz family GQ The Fool, Safi G will FLEX on you to get that food! With A309Vision working the camera this video came out as hype as the song did.
An unfilled space, a gap. A missing portion in a book; Lacuna. Like Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind, erased memories creates a gap in the mind. Defcee bases this LP off that idea, a collection of songs lost to memory intentionally, but they were not ready to be put to rest. Defcee confronts his past in this 4th collaboration with KnowsTheTime. Telling his story as he expresses his growth, perspectives and environment.
Starting out with his hometown growing up, PLEASEANTVILLE II paints a surreal picture of his neighborhood, “aint hell but it aint heaven…” Coming out with a raw and seasoned flow and unlike people who like to claim Chicago, Defcee knows where he is from. “I was born in the life of that luxury, average house, 400 G’s…” takes a 180 turn however to drug hustling and parties, ending it off with “I seen a man die, running through the street on his last high” Strong opening to revisiting your lost memories, Lacuna.
SIMP as you should know is a man who reveres women, pedestals them. Def starts off that he does not like talking about love so might as well get it over at number 2. He referred to it as more of an addiction, “aint addiction crazy, aint she a hell of a drug.” A concept he knows much about as he touches base with addiction to drugs through his own perspectives and a friend. THE POOR LITTLE RICH / DEVIL N ME contains, I believe, the most inventive lyrics through the whole project.
Defcee continues keeping it real through the rest of the LP. Interesting to see what one can find in the Lacuna of the mind. Must have been a reason never stayed completely forgotten! Either way it is a great project lyrically and goes deep personally, which is always a challenging effort; emphasized by knowsthetime production, the quality will get you in a hell of a vibe. His articulation and flow of his perspectives and woes may be catalyst to fans to face their own!
At first glance, just as anyone, you may not know what it is to K3nsway aside from the fact that he dresses well. Far from just well dressed he is a talented Hip Hop artist, not just any ordinary either. More of a conceptual artist as his songs take you through the motions. Many of the ideas sit in the titles of his track like TORTURED MAN and HERE COMES THE TRUTH and NIGHTMARE. Recently he released two more tracks follow more of his personal story through music.
As stated, his titles play on the song idea and these two are no different! His most recent X FILES is most definitely not about some ghosts. Equally as scary though, he runs through his thoughts of ex lovers. DEEP MASON may be more metaphorical as a Mason is either a about stone or Freemasonry. Maybe he just goes as hard as both? Either way its a track packed with raw bravado that will get your head boppin.
Her status reads, “As I prepare for the release of this dope ass content, I hope all my friends and fans understand my distance. I’ve been working non stop on making my dreams come true.” Following Freddie Old Soul can inspire, given her unapologetic freedom of self and her spiritual perspectives. Too imperfect to be called a conscious rapper however her ideologies seep into her rhymes driven by street smart bravado. Simply put, she is as real as they come!
Old Soul been on hiatus but don’t you worry because she got everything that you need in this mother f**ker. She comes back strong after leaving everyone with a taste of HONEY with a music video. In her silence she has been putting together her SOUL WORK, while managing her life and motherhood. She is easily a strong figure and influence for women in hip hop and music in general, just by being herself. Old Soul has put together a listening party for her upcoming project SOUL WORK, along with a documentary of her writing and experiences as an artist in Chicago with SurrealChi at 3101 N Sheffield this November 24th at 8pm.
As far as influential women go, there is one that deserves the most praise and recognition! The one third emcee, photographer and film maker, Jovan Landry, has had a seriously busy year connecting with different collectives, producing music and working the camera. Humbly yet passionately challenging male dominated roles and uplifting women in her industry. She has created quite a rank for herself, an international interdisciplinary artist.
Over the last year alone she has lead a workshop centered around female music producers at A3C Festival and Conference in ATL. She was also involved in a project for Green House Artist Showcase with Dorchester Housing and Art Collective, demonstrating the historical employment of the black female body as a tool for manual labor with Keyierra Collins. Also helped the film Red Clay Dance Company and even was apart of a strength challenge with TBFit. Just to point out a few achievements, because her list of skills go on for ever!
That is all just within the year, her discography and skill set goes much deeper. Recently Jovan has released an album with SynergyChi, a collective of her own creation, made up entirely of creative women with talents in vocals, engineering, graphic design, photography, the works. Supported by WeWork Creator Awards, they have also been featured in Chicago Tribune, Vocalo Radio, NPR and on ABC7 for a television debut. SynergyChi also was chosen to speak in St. Louis University for Women in Hip Hop Conference and in Berlin for WeWork Creator Awards.
Jovan is force of influence, not stopping at the camera, production and building collectives either. She also influences growing artists too, through her video blogging tutorials and guiding tools on her Youtube channel. Yet some of her best work comes from her soul and her music. You can see it when she performs live at events like Jeff Fest, Wicker Park Fest, Hoist Fest or at smaller venues like Emporium or Silver Room. Her music and her lyricism is of consciousness and quality after a short busy hiatus she has released her single Made It Thru following her Synergy LP release.
No two men are one in the same and that especially rings true for Radcliff Music! Where many would faulter, Radcfliff thrives. Could be his raw mindset etched in lyrics like, “I’m going to keep on dropping music bitch, I’m good on the fame“. This mentality allows him to rise above, no matter what the situation, because his dedication to his authenticity. Influenced by no man but himself, he spits his words in raw form in a spree of releases this month.
In a music scene as bustling as Chicago’s there is an artist who is deserving of more attention seemingly everywhere you go. Lucky enough to discover one of those artists playing an amazing set at the Pilsen Art House. His name is M.E.R.C and his new single LATELY shows that his name deserves to be brought up as one of Chicago’s true rising stars. He is still a relatively unknown around the scene, but given his confidence and lyrical ability that should not be the case for much longer. M.E.R.C is definitely somebody you will want to keep on your radar.
The instrumental is moody and fairly stripped back. The trap drums tend to push things forward, adding a lot of color to the jazz piano sample and staccato bass line that fit snug beneath the percussion. Lyrically M.E.R.C leaves everything on the table here, he demonstrates the full arsenal of flows and deliveries that he has at his disposal. He sounds hungry and invigorated as his words paint the picture of a man who is confident. As someone will stop at nothing in the pursuance of their dreams.
Few artists on Chicago’s scene bring as much heat as DeadstockV1 does. His brand new single GEEK is just another example of that. The instrumental on this joint consists of a pleasant mix of jazz and trap elements. The synth chords sound as if they are breathing and the jazzy piano chords stick out beautifully in more subtle moments. Despite its lo-fi elements the bass and trap percussion hit hard, making this track an absolute banger.
This goes without saying but DeadstockV1 rips this track to pieces. His lines are clever, sarcastic and funny as hell. His cadence is lively and full of spirit, his voice absolutely oozing with confidence. How comfortable he sounds tearing a beat to shreds vouches more for his art than any fan or blogger ever could.
If there is one word that sums up DeadstockV1’s performance on this new track, it would be charismatic. You know he is going to bring the lyrical heat every time he steps to the mic, but it is amazing how much his confidence and personality grow with each new release. He mentioned on his Instagram that this song is the “second step in a much bigger picture,” so this dude is definitely someone you are going to want to keep on your radar.
J-Bose is one talented individual. He raps something like a Busta Rhymes or Busdriver and sings with a unique timber unheard of before. He crafts lyrical messages using technical styles of hip hop, fusing that with pop songwriting methodologies. The overall socio-economic political message of J-Bose’s debut album stood out in particular.
He seems to be able to create this realistic hero complex of himself. Utilizing the honesty of his own experiences and coupling that with a filter of his interpretations of the outside world. The majority of these being quite socially progressive in nature. J-Bose’s mature reflections of these stereotypical occurrences might come off to some as, you guessed it, a SNOWFLAKE.
What is a Snowflake? One of the most beautiful and temporary examples of sacred geometry that comes with the absence of heat, or cold. Thinking about that makes you delve deeper into the term we use to coin so many moderate liberal millennials as Snowflakes. Are we really so sensitive that all logical debate has now been eroded? Or is it perhaps we are fed up with the supposed universal rules of society we find ourselves with. Just maybe this generation is going to completely alter the path of history? After listening to Snowflake, the latter of those ideas seem possible.
The first track to delve into is Feel Me featuring Kara Dawn. J-Bose layers much meaning, feeling and questions of morality in his writing. He begins with, “I done seen a lotta people with the biggest egos and the smallest bank accounts. Walkin’ round like they a giant, thinkin’ they Goliath, everyone else David now!”. The idea that there is a lot of fakes with inflated personalities but very little to offer, would seemingly be the person opposite of a snowflake. J-Bose continues with, “Could be inside that they’re hurting, thinkin’ this’ll be the safer route“. It could be these same fakes are actually just lost inside and the best defense mechanism is an outwardly egotistical aggression.
To be a snowflake in our current culture’s context is to admit to feelings you have towards things within society that upset you, not to be emotionless brash. In his second verse he makes this point, “See, we gotta learn how to empathize, we don’t know everyone’s situation. Take the judgement, the bigotry and the lies and remove it all from the equation. And treat everyone as an equal, all the time, not just in some occasions. Cuz we are an imperfect people and it’s time we built perfect relations“. These types of inherently idealistic yet purely loving concepts are unfortunately labeled as snowflake behavior, providing others an excuse to not mentally confront the issues at hand.
J-Bose does not tear down those bigoted, fearful, close minded people whom ignorantly project their baseless vitriol. He sees himself in them, sees their humanity and because of that can only judge so harshly. FEEL ME is a melancholic song that forces a listener to wrestle with their personal morality and sense of empathy. It will have you questioning why you judge and think in the manner that you do.
ONE CHANCE is another appealing tune because the hook is uptempo with a catchy uplifting melody! The song has to do with personal growth and change. These two things are definitely part of the mythos or ethos of what makes a snowflake. “Whether you’re fat, annoying or boring or selfish or lazy, you can identify and make a change and start anew and you can see yourself the way that I see you“. Its the idea of being able to see the light in everyone regardless of the veneer. “But stay humble and if you’re wrong sometimes, and when you are then that’s ok change your state of mind, be honest with your problems and we’ll get along fine, and rejoice we get to share this world and make it cloud 9.“
Some people simply can’t hear out a victim’s or an oppressed group’s opinion because they deem it offensive to themselves personally. Today someone could express their feelings of oppression and have those concepts fall on deaf ears because the receiver thinks they are being personally attacked or torn down. Happen all the time on social media! Some people just cannot separate themselves from the demographic they are apart of. But to be honest, you cannot expect too much out of ignorant people or those unwilling to empathize.
Snowflake by J-Bose gets your gears whizzing. There are many questions to ponder and things to think about when going through this record. Off two songs alone you can extrapolate an insane amount of ideas being conveyed. J-Bose really created an inwardly personal yet outwardly political record with extreme relevance to our current American socio-economic political climate. Questions of sexuality, anxiety, societal ills, oppression, self doubt, crippling fear — its all there.
J-Bose then takes all that and is still able to portray a silver lining. He does so exceedingly well in songs like ONCE CHANCE, ROY DEE THE GIFT, and DOUBLE LOVE. The record is emotional, visceral, piercing, honest, brutal, and eye opening. Snowflake by J-Bose is as pretty as it is structurally sound, but unlike a snowflake, this record isn’t temporary, its here to stay.